View Full Version : Nostalgia: When Bevo was barbecue, and other trials of Texas' most famous longhorn

11-25-2010, 07:22 PM
Jim Weber runs the college football and menís basketball site LostLettermen.com. This week, he looks at the early trials of Bevo, introduced to Texas on Thanksgiving 1916, ahead of Thursday night's rivalry showdown between the Longhorns and Texas A&M in Austin.

There isn't a fan base more proud of its school or more in love with its mascot than the faithful from the University of Texas. Longhorn fans stay true to their school by traveling en masse to road games, decking themselves head to toe in burnt orange and obsessively lashing the "Hook 'em Horns."

And they show their affection for the live longhorn mascot, Bevo, with endless merchandise that ranges from golf head covers to Halloween costumes, as well as a student group, the Silver Spurs, whose sole purpose is the care and transport of the 2,000-pound steer. These days, he's treated like royalty while taking in games from the field.

It wasn't always that way. Texas had been known as the "Longhorns" for years, but before a group of students dragged a gaunt, frightened steer onto the field at halftime of Texas' Thanksgiving Day game against A&M College of Texas in 1916, the preferred mascot was a dog. UT alum Stephen Pinckney had spotted the orange-tinged longhorn on a cattle raid in Laredo and bought him with $1 contributions from 124 fellow alumni. It arrived just in time for the A&M game on a boxcar with no food or water.

But the Longhorns won, 21-7, thanks to two punt returns for touchdowns after the steer was introduced, and he stuck as a good luck charm. He was shipped to a stockyard in South Austin for a photograph (he reportedly charged the photographer immediately after the picture was snapped), which soon ran with a story in an alumni magazine that dubbed the new mascot as "Bevo."


11-27-2010, 07:29 PM
I had no idea there was such controversy over the naming of Bevo. From wiki:

Origin of the name Bevo

"Bo" made his first public appearance at the halftime of the 1916 Thanksgiving Day football game between Texas and archrival the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (later Texas A&M University), a game in which Texas defeated the Aggies 22 - 7.[8] Following the game, Ben Dyer, editor of the UT campus magazine The Alcalde, referred to the mascot as BEVO.[9] It is not known why he chose this name, though various theories have been put forth, including that Texas A&M had a hand in naming the mascot.[9]

The legend, accepted by both schools for decades, claims that the name came about due to an prank led by students of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.[9][10][11] It is true that in 1916, four Texas A&M Aggies kidnapped the longhorn and branded him with "13 - 0", the score of A&M's 1915 win over Texas.[9][12][11] Texas students are rumored to have retaliated by changing the steer's brand to Bevo. Bevo was fattened up and served at a football banquet in 1920, due to the fact the university did not have the money to take care of him and he was not tamed to roam the campus.[9][12] The Aggies were fed the side they had branded and presented with the hide, which still read Bevo. Some Longhorn fans and even the official athletic site have recently come up with alternate explanations, including that the mascot was named for a near beer, Bevo. Another potential source of the BEVO name was the one reported in The Daily Texan, the student newspaper of UT: "Through the 1900s and 1910s, newspapers ran a series of comic strips drawn by Gus Mager. The strips usually featured monkeys as the main characters, all named for their personality traits. Braggo the Monk constantly made empty boasts, Sherlocko the Monk was a bumbling detective, and so on. The comic strips were popular enough to create a nationwide fad for persons to nickname their friends the same way, with an 'o' added to the end. The Marx Brothers were so named by their colleagues in Vaudeville: Groucho was moody, Harpo played the harp, and Chico raised chicks when he was a boy. Mager's strips ran every Sunday in newspapers throughout Texas, including Austin. In addition, the term 'beeve' is the plural of beef, but is more commonly used as a slang term for a cow (or steer) that's destined to become food. The term is still used, though it was more common among the general public in the 1910s when Texas was more rural. The jump from 'beeve' to 'Bevo' isn't far, and makes more sense given the slang and national fads of the time."[9]


The story that my dad told me (class of 1965) was that the Aggies stole the longhorn in 1916 just before the rivalry game and branded it with 13-0, which was the score of the game they played the year before (A&M won). The Longhorn students changed the brand to read 'Bevo' instead of '13-0'. It appears there isn't a definitive source for the origin of the name Bevo. Odd...

11-27-2010, 11:07 PM
From the UT website itself